We often hear classroom participants discuss the lack of consistent policy administration by their management. While one might expect this in a large organization, it seems that even smaller companies are not immune. For instance, people tell us that usage of paid time off (PTO) varies greatly from employee to employee. In some organizations, much discretion is left up to the manager when it comes to use of vacation or sick time. What results is a belief by employees that the policies are pointless and only apply to some people. As a child might say, "That's not fair!"
We hear of many examples where employees are not judged by the same criteria at performance appraisal time. This is often confirmed when managers from the same company report that they have distinctly different views on the definition of "meets expectations," "exceeds expectations" or even "fails to meet expectations." Obviously, this can have an impact on the employee's advancement and pay. Not to mention the impact on the company's productivity. The use of frequency distributions can shed light on individual or department rater bias/inflation. Nine-box talent calibrations are also a useful tool to drive evaluation consistency.
Another issue concerns the tactics used in recruiting people to particular businesses. For example, an HR Director or Line Manager may indicate to the candidate that the organization has provisions for working remotely. People accept the job only to discover that the position does not lend itself to that type of flexibility. When they witness others who can take advantage of this benefit, it becomes demoralizing.
While an organization may be unable to eliminate all of these perceived inequities, senior management can take a periodic look into how various policies are administered by their management staff and work to see that uniformity is present. Even if there is no discrimination or law being broken, there are consequences to inconsistent management. One of the most serious is that employees begin to believe that theirs is not a "great place to work." There's not much that has a greater impact on an organization than the mood of its people.
One of the buzzwords we hear frequently is an expectation of transparency. If you've ever wondered how your organization is doing in this area, we are glad to be of service. Simply contact Tom Sheehan at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can pose the right questions to see if your management staff is consistent or in need of a little tweaking.